Pain Perdu, Pineapple and Coconut

We haven't been to Marcus Wareing's eponymous restaurant since it was re-branded.  It's a little art-deco jewel-box of a restaurant, but the atmosphere seemed just as hushed at lunchtime as before... Still.  The food was good, and I was particularly enamoured with this dish - a little chef's joke...  The pineapple tastes of coconut, which initially confuses the senses, especially as you try to work out how... I pressed the waitress, it's clearly compressed, because of the texture, but what with? And then of course it struck me - Malibu - the scent led me by my nose to my teenage years.  Malibu.  When was the last time you tasted Malibu?  Well, rest assured, in this dish it's absolutely delicious, as long as you like coconut and pineapple.

Coconut Milk Creme Patisserie [Thermomix]

I use the standard Creme Patisserie recipe on the blog a lot, but in a recent recipe (which contained a coconut curd), I thought I might make a coconut milk variation - after all the fat content of coconut milk is quite high, and the consistency can be similar to milk.  I altered the recipe slightly, but that was because I included 30ml of Malibu, and an increased quantity of flour - I wanted to be able to pipe the creme pat into quite stiff peaks on the plate, for a specific dessert.

Coconut Cream Ice-Cream, with Lime Zest [Thermomix]

There are lots of recipes for coconut milk ice-cream, especially with the rise of the "raw" diner (where a dish is not cooked in any way), and the number of vegans (who can't eat any dairy).  My own persuasion of 'pescetarianism' is supposed to mean that I don't eat dairy (because of my osteo-arthritis), but the reality is that I will have the odd cappuccino, the odd ice-cream, and the occasional bit of chocolate.  Luckily I've was put-off cream for life whilst working for six months in a bakery on Saturdays - there's nothing like free cream slices for your break to put-you-off forever!

The Meringue Girls Meringue Kisses...

I love the Meringue Girls on many, many levels - they're cute, and they're cute! They've taken something basic and created a niche market - good for them... In addition, their cookbook has brilliant little video clips which can be accessed via the cookbook by scanning a special code on your iPhone. They're fun, informative, simple, and definitely give you a sense of their personalities: that's often difficult to achieve in a cookbook.

Baked Mercenaria Mercenaria... Aka baked Clams, or Quahogs

I have a fabulous supplier, close to me, of all manner of delicious goodies.  Oakleaf European actually make twice weekly visits to Rungis, in Paris, and return with fabulous things for restaurants all over the UK, and even fly somethings abroad for one or two special restaurants.  Depending on the season their warehouse smells of truffles, the sweetest figs, planters of aromatic mint, basil, and bunches of chervil.

Malaysian Prawn and Pineapple Curry

Hubby makes a LOT of curries - curries and tagines. He's often constrained by my need to eat fish or shellfish, but luckily there are any number of dishes from Asia and the Indian subcontinent which suit my requirements perfectly.  His favourite cookbooks are those by Atul Kochhar, Rick Stein and more recently my chum Dhruv Baker, and he also attended one of Atul's courses, and prepared a meal for the lunch service.  Hubby gained a number of useful insights into preparing curry, chief of which appears to be proper cooking of onions.  This recipe is actually a Malaysian curry, known as Udang Masak, and is based on one taught to Atul by Maria Mustafa...

Orange and Cranberry Scones

The 9 year old's on-going quest for the perfect bake has turned to scones.  So far we've made conventional scones, cheese, raisin, and this variation from a recipe by Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa).  Ina's version includes cream and is made in the kitchen aid - I've included it because the ingredients and technique varied a great deal from the English versions I saw.

Blackened Fish (or Chicken)

Since I have eschewed meat, I've been eating predominantly fish.  Hardly a hardship I hear you cry, especially when the fish I buy is usually some gorgeous (ethically sourced) bit of wild fish, such as sea trout, or halibut.  But still, fish several times a week can become a little bit uninspiring.  In Antigua I spotted a blackened flying fish burger, with a brioche bun, and a spiced remoulade - I think I must have eaten it three or four times in the remaining days before I had to fly home.

Oeufs en Cocotte, Alba Truffle, and King Oyster Mushrooms

Some supper dishes are so simple that they should be saved until you have some really special ingredients - oeufs en cocotte (baked eggs) are the perfect example.  A quick tour of the fridge reveals lovely Legbar eggs, the remains of an alba truffle from Christmas, and king oyster mushrooms.  Baked together like this it's not a supper dish but a feast...

Chicken Casserole with Fennel, Lemon, Garlic and Mushrooms

I've no idea where this idea came from, as I'd originally intended to make a chicken chasseur.   When I opened the fridge though, I had an excellent head of fennel, amazing lemons, some beautiful pink garlic and some of my new favourite king oyster mushrooms. It reminded me of one of my absolute favourite summer lunches - finely sliced fennel, served with a garlic and lemon dressing, and seared chicken breasts which have been marinated in garlic and lemon juice.  I think it just seemed logical to give it a go...